Author Topic: Bears in Canada?  (Read 3175 times)

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Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2017, 12:55:50 am »
Except for the prairies, there are black bears along most of that route, although they are pretty shy about approaching a well-travelled highway at most times of the year (spring dandelion season is one exception). You may also encounter grizzlies in the interior and eastern parts of BC as well as the Alberta Rockies, but they tend to be even more shy about busy roads. Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about encountering them on maintained roads, but it would be wise to have bear spray handy in the mountains (just in case), and practice bear-safety when camping, especially.

Offline zzzz

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 09:31:40 pm »
Hi Lucas:

Over the years on this forum some people's posts have stood out for me and I make it a point to see whatever they have posted. You are one of those people. Because of that I know you have previously ridden the TransAm, the NT, and the GDMBR. So you have already pedaled thru some of the most densly bear populated areas of North America.

A look at a bear distribution map says your route will have at least black bears almost the entire way. And as you well know, you then always take the standard set of precautions and then you put it to the back of your mind.

Since you made this post I assume you have some special concern and I'm wondering what it is.

Pete

Offline geegee

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 11:38:34 pm »
Your chances of seeing a black bear are probably high in Northern Ontario closer to larger bodies of water. Quebec tends to clear-cut wide swaths along its highways, if there was a bear, you'd see it from a good distance. Bears hate road noise though, there's enough wilderness for them to enjoy than hanging around near the highway.

Interesting route, I'm just wondering if you'd get bored with too much of the Canadian Shield and the Boreal forest. That's almost 3,000 kilometres, from Kenora to Saguenay, of "rocks and trees and trees and rocks" as the song goes. I get a few cross-Canada cyclists stay with me each year via WarmShowers, and by the time they get through Northern Ontario and into Ottawa they're relieved to be out of the boonies.

I've ridden out to Saguenay, the fjord is awesome. There's some good whale watching at the mouth, I saw belugas swimming 20 feet from the shore. The north shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence is spectacular, I'm contemplating riding out to the end of that highway past Sept-Îles all the way to Kegashka later in the summer and maybe catch the coastal ferry out to Labrador.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 11:50:46 pm by geegee »

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 01:43:45 am »

A look at a bear distribution map says your route will have at least black bears almost the entire way.

If you look at bear distribution maps for Canada you will see there are bears even in NS and NB.

I started out in Halifax, NS a few times. I would ask the local people for the bears, but they would say there are no bears in NS. Maybe if you go to the deep deep hinterland of NB, otherwise not. So one thing is what a map says - another what locals tell you.

When I reach the Rockies I will take my precautions because I KNOW there are bears for sure - I have seen them several times. To me it is a mental stress to set up camp earlier, finding a tree for hanging food, finding a bear container, assesing the situation of wind direction, looking for rivers and streams, observing all kinds of distance rules etc etc (usually only applies for wild/stealth camping). So when I did the NT, I passed through LARGE areas of bear populated areas in the east, but never saw a bear and the locals told me there are no bears. Doing the NT again I would not bring a bear spray at all and worry about food hanging until I reach the Rockies. So what I would basically do is ramp up my precaution level when I reach the Rockies (if doing the NT). But on the roads in Ontario and Quebec I have no idea what the real situation is: Do I need to take Rocky Mountain like precautions already there?

Lucas

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 01:47:33 am »

Interesting route, I'm just wondering if you'd get bored with too much of the Canadian Shield and the Boreal forest. That's almost 3,000 kilometres, from Kenora to Saguenay, of "rocks and trees and trees and rocks" as the song goes. I get a few cross-Canada cyclists stay with me each year via WarmShowers, and by the time they get through Northern Ontario and into Ottawa they're relieved to be out of the boonies.

I like enjoy this type of touring: Flat, small grades and able to chew up a lot of miles. I also enjoy the desert and great plains. Easy to plan for reaching the next town because there is no steep mountain pass in between that will suck all energy out of you.

Offline geegee

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 08:25:41 am »
I like enjoy this type of touring: Flat, small grades and able to chew up a lot of miles. I also enjoy the desert and great plains. Easy to plan for reaching the next town because there is no steep mountain pass in between that will suck all energy out of you.

Highway 17 along Lake Superior is a roller coaster, with pretty steep grades (10+%). Highway 11 which veers farther north through Hearst and Kapuskasing is a flatter alternative with less traffic. The Canadian Shield geology is mostly extremely tough granite which makes road building expensive and difficult, so they tended to do minimal grading on the old highways. If you come across road construction where they're flattening or straightening there's a lot of dynamite involved. So many rivers and lakes though, if you have a filter you'll never be short of water.

Quote
But on the roads in Ontario and Quebec I have no idea what the real situation is: Do I need to take Rocky Mountain like precautions already there?

In the Rockies the valleys are very limiting, so that the roads and railways share the same tight corridors as wildlife. Northern Ontario and Quebec are wide open wilderness where wildlife can roam freely with fewer obstacles. I find the likelihood of seeng wildlife much higher in the Rockies and almost a guarantee, whereas you can do a long drive on the main highways here and not see a large wild animal. I've lived 35 years in Ontario and done a lot of wilderness camping, and I've only seen bear along the road maybe 3 times.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 10:08:09 am by geegee »

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 12:19:51 pm »
When I reach the Rockies I will take my precautions because I KNOW there are bears for sure - I have seen them several times. To me it is a mental stress to set up camp earlier, finding a tree for hanging food, finding a bear container, assesing the situation of wind direction, looking for rivers and streams, observing all kinds of distance rules etc etc (usually only applies for wild/stealth camping).
If you are starting in Vancouver, I would not wait until you hit the Rockies to start being cautious about bears. Once you reach hope and start up Hwy 3, you are in black bear country - in fact, there is a good chance you will see a black bear near the highway before you reach Allison Pass in Manning Park (i.e. day 1 while travelling hwy 3). Except for perhaps the Okanagan Valley, that entire route to the Rockies is through black bear country, and I would be cautious if you wild camp almost anywhere in BC.



Offline zzzz

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 12:46:44 pm »
I understand the reasoning now for the question. You may want to hang your food because of raccoons, regardless of the bear situation but that doesn't have the same level of danger.

Below is a link to the page on Chris Poutney's journal on CGOAB from his RTW trip. He was camping somewhere in Quebec when his pannier got demo'd by a bear.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1fs&page_id=479620&v=5P

I'm sure by spending some small amount of time reading the journal you can determine exactly where he was if you're curious. I would have but I need to get back to work.

pm

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2017, 06:15:42 pm »
Currently planning the route using google maps and tracing all the information onto commercial paper maps (Mapart). Among many, found a private campground along HWY 11 between Thunderbay and Fort Frances and was unsure whether they offered tent camping. I contacted them and was told that they do not offer tent camping due to bears! Bears would always go for the tents first I was told. But I could rent a cabin for 1 day for 180 dollars!!! Not really promising information.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Bears in Canada?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2017, 03:56:25 pm »
And yet plenty of people camp in countless places in the U.S. that are rife with bears--both grizzly and black. Just spent some nights in some of those places.